Conference Review: STC’s Virtual Conference on Content Strategy

virtual conferenceI attended the STC’s Virtual Conference: Technical Communication Content Strategy in the Mobile Device Age, Dec 4-7, 2012. I appreciated that so many important speakers organized themselves into a virtual conference. It’s never easy to do group projects, but this one came off quite well.

Despite some technical snags, the content was generally really great. If you were wondering what to consider and how to move forward with creating and managing mobile content, then you got your answers. In short: it’s complex but doable.

There was considerable overlap between presentations by Ann Rockley and fellow Rockley Group partner Charles Cooper, down to occasional identical slides, but they ended up talking at different levels of detail for the most part and both were very good presentations.

Marcia Riefer Johnson had some excellent tips on writing concisely (although I disagree about throwing out adverbs). The most important part of her presentation was pointing out that conciseness is an extra effort. You write, then you edit for conciseness, removing all verbiage. If you skip the editing step, you cannot be concise. Also, look for the word “of” in your content and you will certainly find places you can streamline content. I’m hoping that the importance placed on writing concisely or writing for mobile deliveries will enforce a resurgence in the technical editor role in an organization—a role so often left vacant, to our users’ detriment.

Tip: Make sure you pay attention to the discussions in the chat. They are sometimes just as interesting as the official presentation, although occasionally go off on a tangent (we started talking about the death of PDF during Charles Cooper’s presentation—sorry Charles.).

Also, please figure out how to mute your telephone or headset before you attend. And yes, either you’ll get access to the recordings or you’ll be given the slides after the conference, or both. Please stop asking.

Overall, if you missed it, then you should catch the next one.  I hope the STC plans to make these virtual conferences a regular occurrence.

Jacquie Samuels

Jacquie Samuels is the owner of Writing Wise. She endeavors to help everyone create documentation that is stronger, faster, and smarter. You can connect with Jacquie through her Google Plus page.

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